Puppet Masters – A Blast From The Past post FEBRUARY 2013

*Somehow after the last week, this seemed appropriate. And SOMEHOW I scheduled this for six PM.  ARGH.  Should have checked earlier, sorry.*

Puppet Masters – A Blast From The Past post FEBRUARY 2013

It’s not what we know that kills us… It’s the many things we think we know that just ain’t so – and which might be completely different, in fact.

Take for instance sex – yeah, this early in the day.  Let’s have a show of hands.  How many of you watched Splendor in the Grass?  How many realized it makes no sense whatsoever?

I was probably blessed in watching it now as an adult – a few years ago – and quite conscious of the insidious myths of the twentieth century, including that repressing your sexual drive will make you maaaaaaaaaaaad.  Maaaaaaaaaaad.

I’ll head things off here, and tell you right out that no, I don’t think people can be celibate life long unless they’re endowed with a special grace which is more than I – or most humans – have.  (Grace or the ability to sublimate to other things.)

Being celibate life-long might make you a little odd.  You might develop an obsession with naughty pictures, or something.  BUT mostly it will make you lonely and sad, since it’s not good for man (or woman) to be alone.  We are, by nature, designed to have a mate.

This is however not in the same realm as “you can’t repress any sexual desires at all, no matter the time, the place, your age or your circumstances and if you try to you’ll become psychotic.”

As powerful a drive as sexual desire is, it’s not magical.  Repressing it can’t make a good man into a mass murderer or a rapist.  Repressing it – temporarily, because, duh, you’re a kid and unmarried – won’t send a stable girl into the madhouse.  (If she’s the kind to go to the madhouse, then she will be in worse trouble if she DOES have sex.  I don’t think someone that mentally fragile could cope with the consequences of sex – attachment, fidelity [or lack thereof] and possible pregnancy.)

The idea that it is magical and that if repressed it will make you into a monster is the sort of cheap Freudianism that has infused society since – yep – World War One and which is at the back of much of our entertainment AND our educational policies.

In entertainment it causes people to think that stuff like Splendor on the Grass is “deep” and books with that sort of meaning are “important” (Which is why kids in YA now screw like minxes) – instead of faulty and done to death – and in education it causes people to laugh politely at the suggestion kids should be told it’s best to abstain till they’re in a stable relationship.

It’s so prevalent that the laugh is never explained.  It’s all “Oh, my dear, she believes in abstention” as though this were the ultimate stupidity.  Because everyone knows that kids can’t control their sex drive, and if they did they’d break out in pimples, or something.  Only, of course, while some kids might not be able to abstain (there’s enormous variation in human desire) most can if told it’s not going to make them go maaaaaaad.  Maaaaaad.

In the same vein, everyone knows Europe is more sophisticated than the US.  Why, my dear, their politicians routinely have mistresses.  Publicly.  And no one minds.  But the rubes in the US get very upset if they find their president has a squeeze.  As if that weren’t the right of every rich and important man.

Uh…  You see, it has nothing to do with sophistication.  Unless by sophistication you mean the sort of cultural memory that goes back to Rome and knows, of course, that it is impolite to kiss your spouse in public, but quite all right to kiss your mistress.

The Europeans grant these privileges to their rich and powerful because they believe some animals are more equal than others.  They’ve been used to it. There’s feudalism in their minds.

We, on the other hand, founded on bourgeois virtues, believe that contracts are made to be kept, and if a man is married, he’s married.  He gave his word, and violating his word without remorse and semi-publicly is a severe flaw in someone who’s sworn to serve the country.

Everyone also knows that all cultures are alike – except ours, which is imperialist, colonialist and bad.  This too infuses our teaching about other countries and even an entire class of politicians who think that our foreign policy should be based on self abasement and apology.

To maintain this view of the world, our schools teach what I’d call “cute brown people” anthropology.  Oh, fine, I don’t think they see it that way.  They teach the cookery of the country, and the arts and crafts, and talk about their admirable achievements (usually rather in the patronizing “and they invented a new type of clog” line.  I mean, you can’t expect little brown people to have BIG achievements, and you should praise the little ones, because wow, think about it, new type of clog.)

What they don’t teach is that every “underdog” culture was at some point dominant.  They don’t teach stuff such as that the Zulus were no more native to South Africa than the Afrikaners.  They’d immigrated across Africa in fire and blood, and got to South Africa just about when the Afrikaners did.  Assuming they’re “native” because of their skin color is the rankest racism.

What they don’t teach is that EVERY HUMAN race, culture and subtype is two things: intensely racist (in the sense of tribalist.  The humanoid band allowed us to survive.  We seek the company of those like us) and colonialist (you expand your band’s territory if you can.)

The other thing they don’t teach is that, as an extension of – and defeater – of the tribe, the nation state – EVERY NATION STATE – is out for its own interests.  Long before “capitalism” or “fight for resources” or whatever the Marxists think this is all about (and don’t get me started on THEIR illusions.  I have a book to finish) the great leaders of the French were those who were out for French interests and French domination.  (Read about Napoleon.  There were reasons he was called “the monster” – but the French STILL lionize him.)

It is what we think we know that just ain’t so – and it takes a very sophisticated society indeed to have this sort of mass illusion for so long – that is killing Western society and the US.

And it is time we woke up from the screaming nightmare we’re been in since WWI.  It’s time to realize most of these ideas are not only wrong — they are, on the face of them and stated out loud (as they never are) laugh out loud ridiculous.

Like the idea that it will do lasting psychological harm to abstain from sex while in high school.  Because… because… because… Cheese!  Also lasers!  Or the idea that people who can tan (like me) are automatically endowed with superpowers of goodness, kindness, and sinlessness.  (I prefer the open racism of Patricia Wentworth where a character is clearly a murderer because he’s part Portuguese.  At least it’s open.)   As for the idea of European sophistication, Europe is the only place where I’ve heard OPEN homophobic, racist and sexist remarks in PROFESSIONAL situations, and no one says anything.  (Of course, at least it’s out in the open.)

But out here — and in Europe, even though they’re more blunt about their own prejudices (btw, this is allowable because they “know” the US is far more racist, sexist and homophobic than they are.  It’s one of THEIR accepted lies.)  — we believe most of these things at a level so deep it filters into all our entertainment and culture, and makes itself accepted without ever being thought about.

In many ways, it’s not very different from having an alien controlling our brain – as in Heinlein’s Puppet Masters.

Go and read that book (again, if you already have).  Then take off your overcoat, kill your rider, and start learning what is real and what isn’t.

The sex-soaked, human-despising, self-destroying culture of the past century is dead and stinking.  Let’s crawl out from under the corpse of its entertainment and “news” and “scholarship” before it suffocates us.

119 responses to “Puppet Masters – A Blast From The Past post FEBRUARY 2013

  1. Welllllll …. it’s six PM somewhere.

  2. Pretty sure we’re going to have to bunker up and outlast the giant shambling corpse of Progressive aristocracy.

  3. What? Give up the idea that following your own impulse is necessary for sanity? Why, then you wouldn’t be able to get moral egoboo from acting with no self-control!

    Not to mention that claiming it’s necessary is a powerful salve to conscience if you behave badly in other respects in the matter.

    • Think of the harm to our economy if we restrain our impulse buying! Do you want higher unemployment, more people starving and homeless?

      Don’t think (we have experts to do that for you), just react.

  4. … the suggestion kids should be told it’s best to abstain till they’re in a stable relationship.

    I’m not sure whether I, Beloved Spouse or Daughtorial Unit deserves the credit (likely the D.U.) for recognizing that the “it’s okay to have sex once you’re in a “committed relationship” meant waiting for marriage — because until you are married you are not really committed.

    • Sadly, our lawmakers are doing their best to remove the commitment from marriage via laws that make it as easy as possible to divorce. If you can back out at any time, will you truly be committed? Only if you have the strength of character — which the laws are doing nothing to promote.

      • scott2harrison

        Are doing? They (and the judges) finished that project in the 70’s with one party no-fault divorce.

        • But they’re trying to screw with marriage and commitment even more (pun fully intended). See things like the Orwellianly-named “Yes Means Yes” laws, one of whose consequences will be to enable even more divorces. I don’t have time right now to step through how that enabling happens, as I have an appointment coming up real soon; but I may have time in about twelve hours or so.

        • Yeah, now it’s all culture wars. Like the dishonest conflation of divorce with legal separation, and insisting on divorce as the only way to obtain a legal separation.

          • And when that wasn’t enough, conflating physical separation (“he is deployed”) with divorce.

            • Foxfier, I worked with too many horndogs (in and out of uniform) in DoD contracting who viewed the “TDY divorce” as one of the benefits of assigned travel. 8-(

              • Even one would be too many, but when a supposedly reputable polling firm is using it to channel those called into the “how long have you been separated or divorced” list of questions, it’s bloody fraud.

              • Knew of a Colonel who sent his Deputy TDY so he could conduct an affair with the wife

                • That’s not quite Uriah the Hittite territory, but it’s frighteningly close.

                • I hope he was court martialed and given a Dishonorable Discharge. That is truly contemptible.

                  • Doesn’t speak well of the wife, either, that the Colonel thought it would work worth trying.

                    • Doesn’t speak well of her if he was right…. Thinking so could conceivably be based on evidence of receptiveness or on mere delusion. (Or, perhaps more alarmingly, on expecting to be able to bully her into it after demonstrating his power over her husband….)

                    • I believe he used his power to bully her into the affair, but I really didn’t know any of the parties involved.

                    • If indeed he did use his command authority to bully her into the affair, that was no affair, that was rape. Court-martial and Dishonorable Discharge were letting him off easy, too easy.

                  • Bibliotheca Servare

                    Ditto, though I’d prefer crucifixion of both adulterers (I’d settle for just the Colonel, but I’d prefer both). Tom Kratman had/has it right in the Carrera books; infidelity in uniform is a capital crime. I’d include civilian spouses of men & women in uniform, but I’m kind of old fashioned/bloody-minded about such things. Ahem…my inner Vlad Tepes is showing…how embarrassing.

                  • Yes as a matter of fact he was. He was considered a fast burner, but he flamed out. (He was an AF pilot.)

                • Kinda like David and Bathsheba?

        • Funnily enough, NY only picked up no-fault divorce a few years ago… dunno about the other states. I think NY was the last one, though.

          (Immediately after I’d finished my state-specific Family Law course. Of course…)

          • I moved to NY in 2011 and took the NY bar in 2012. I had moved from a different state, whose bar I had passed, so my studying for the NY bar involved getting some books on state-specific topics, including family law, and reading them.

            There was a family law question on the exam, of course, involving the dissolution of a marriage, and I answered it as I had been trained.

            Unbenknownst to me, since the book I had used was published but before I took the exam, NY moved to no-fault divorce.

            [I passed the exam. But OH WOW was I anxious about it.]

    • The Other Sean

      Do you think marriage is very important? I’d estimate 20% of my European colleagues meet their significant other, start a family, raise kids, live together for decades, and never bother getting married by religious or secular authorities. They seem no more miserable or troubled than their married counterparts.

      • Even in Europe, the unmarried are more likely to split, with all the resulting damage to the children.

      • I think a commitment is important. As has been pointed out, these days marriage doesn’t represent much of a commitment.

    • I wish I could believe marriage and commitment had something to do with each other. Growing up in the 80’s I can only remember one or two friends (and no family) who’s parents were still together.

      • I grew up in the 70s and 80s and I knew two kids out of 70-80 with parents who had separated. This is in the Midwest and Texas, so it could be a regional variation.

        • We were the only still married — to each other — parents in my kids’ classes in elementary. Now, we lived in a hippie dippie anything goes mountain town, but still.

        • Don’t know school statistics, but of the 9 scouts in my troop, 8 are living with both their parents. And I do know that for the length of time I’ve lived here, 17 years, the valedictorian and the salutatorian in the HS have been from intact two parent families.

          As for HS in 1973, seems most of my friends came from intact families. I didn’t. I was in the top 10%- 40 of 403. The top 10 graduates were all from intact families.

        • There’s a cultural/economic angle, too.

          My parents gave birth to the majority of all the kids in my school whose parents were still married to each other, had been married before the kids were born and didn’t have kids by anybody else.

          The other family separated after the kids graduated.

          We were also one of the few NOT trust-fund-baby families in the school.

      • I didn’t know any divorced people when I was growing up. Today I know less than 10. And they remarried and are still married to their second spouse.

      • I am reminded of an ‘Opposite Sketch’ from You Can’t Do That On Television where a couple with children horrified the kids by telling them they had decided to get married. The kids ran off screaming before it was explained, “Uhhhh… not to each other!”

  5. I was recalling how, back in my youth, the idea that we “took” democratic governance from the Amerindians was all the rage (dumb, I know — we got it from the Vikings, just ask Poul Anderson) when I realized that, if true, America’s democratic republican structure was a result of cultural appropriation and should be abandoned.

  6. Wayne Blackburn

    (Sigh) Now I’m going to wait for a rapist to use “I was told that if I tried to hold my urges in check, that it would turn me into a monster,” as an affirmative defense.

    • I think that excuse is already in use across MENA.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        That’s slightly different. That’s, “Men can’t keep their urges in check, so women must hide from them or face the consequences”.

        A slim distinction, perhaps. It hinges on the “turn me into a monster” part. In MENA, they don’t think it makes men into monsters, it’s just the normal thing to do.

        • When the cat eats the meat, do you blame the cat or the person who left the meat?

          Well, actually, neither. I blame the cat’s owner. Feral cat? Then I blame animal control, which should have taken the cat to the pound where, among other things, they would have the animal fixed.

          Amazing what people don’t think through.

          • …except you can’t “fix” a cat not to eat meat.

            • Sure you can.

              There are admittedly some undesirable side effects, such as the demise of the cat, but you can stop its eating of meat.

            • But every couple of years, you’ll read about some Militant Vegan who tries….

              • *shakes head* That’s animal cruelty. I’d ask if their vets knew of this nonsense, but I know better. The ones that are, are either in on it, or are already trying to throttle the idea out of the idiots’ heads.

            • Yeah, so it’s even better as a fix of the problem for which it is a metaphor.

  7. LOL. I was one of those rarities that lost my virginity well after high school. My best friend thinks that I was weird or something. I’ve been married now for almost 50 years (next August) and don’t cheat on my wife. Maybe I AM a bit odd by some sort of odd “reasoning.”

  8. We, on the other hand, founded on bourgeois virtues, believe that contracts are made to be kept, and if a man is married, he’s married. He gave his word, and violating his word without remorse and semi-publicly is a severe flaw in someone who’s sworn to serve the country.

    Y’know, that’s probably why so many folks don’t like us.

    We are Bourgeois, and the last however long has been about hitting that safe target.

    • Three hundred years? I’d like to blame Rousseau and his spiritual children for the idea that quiet, decent, hard-working, ordinary people who see nothing wrong with improving their economic status are 1) enslaved dupes, 2) inauthentic [see ‘noble savage’], 3) victims of cultural hegemony of the ruling class, 4) repressed and in need of [hormonal/emotional impulse], or 5) Yes to all of the above.

    • I got my first exposure to that dislike during the Clinton impeachment hearings. Ken Starr came to speak at Wheaton College, where I was an undergrad at the time, and some local liberals were standing around outside with protest signs. (Extremely well-mannered protest signs compared to what I’d expect to see now.) I talked to one of them and said, “Why do you think it’s politically-motivated? Doesn’t the fact that he lied under oath bother you?” His reply was, “Yeah, but about sex? Everybody lies about sex!” My first thought was, “Well, I don’t.” My second thought was, “… And he won’t believe me if I tell him that.” My third thought was, “I would have to be in his shoes. What a terribly unpleasant world view! How could he ever know that his wife was being faithful to him? How could she ever know that he was being faithful to her?” I was young and innocent at the time, but not so innocent that I spoke any of those thoughts out loud.

      Now, with another 10-15 years of experience behind me, I’d mention another reason why so many folks don’t like us. Our holding ourselves to standards, and honorable behavior, are a rebuke to people like my erstwhile interlocutor. He needed to believe that everybody lies about sex, because if that’s true, then his own lies about sex (whatever they might have been) are excusable, because he had no choice. But if there are indeed people who don’t lie about sex, then his own lies are revealed for the shameful things that they truly are, because he did have a choice, and chose wrongly.

      Likewise, Hollywood et al.* have a need to believe that everyone is unable to control their sexual passions. Because if that is false, their own lack of self-control is exposed.

      * With a few praiseworthy exceptions like Christopher Walken, who has been married to the same woman since 1969.

      • I’ll just note, before anyone misunderstands my point, that when I say “his lies about sex are excusable,” I’m explaining his point of view, not what I actually believe. They are not, in fact, excusable — but he tells himself that they are.

        • You know something else “everybody” lies about? How much money they make.

          But when you lie about that to the government, the proglodytes are not so forgiving.

          The underlying truth is a) most of them, had they been married to Hillary, would also have cheated on her whenever they could and b) Bill Clinton was of their tribe and that mattered more than any abstract principle.

          I expect the eventual republican candidate will at some point run a one minute ad consisting of nothing but Hillary speaking and contradicting herself as she flip-flops on any and every position, concluding with her laughter, implicitly asking whether the nation actually wants to listen to her hectoring voice for the next four years. Of course, what difference, at this point, what difference does it make?

          • Given the number of people Obama tried to appoint to office that had tax problems (including John Kerry), I think the libs do indeed think that it’s okay to lie to the government about how much money you make…

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Well, they think it’s okay for them, of course! but when one of those evil Rethuglicans do it, that’s another matter, entirely.

              • Reality Observer

                IIRC, there were those who made a fuss over Mitt Romney’s charitable contributions – he was somehow a hypocrite for not taking every deduction he was entitled to on his tax returns.

                Coming and going…

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Some of it was also that he supported his church which wasn’t what he was supposed to do. [Frown]

              • ahh repu/conservative/square people ect ect only lie to the IRS because of greed……karry was just “confused” or was just trying to do something awesome and “good” with that $$

            • See point b.

              Membership in the tribe and advocacy of the values of the tribe (e.g., abortion on demand) allows indulgences for personal failures to practice the tribe’s more superficial principles (see: “rape” rape).

          • A 30 second spot of her laughing should do it.

      • Or that Tim football guy, or the other football guy who’s with the Chargers who is– gasp!– a practicing Catholic, and has several kids WITH THE SAME WOMAN, to whom he is married, and was before there were kids?

        • The curious thing about Mr. Tebow is that, according to news stories that crop up when I go to check my e-mail, his now-ex girlfriend left him due to a lack of sex.

          • Couldn’t take the whole “no sex until marriage” thing.

            Poor guy.

            • In the long run, he’s better off. If she didn’t have the same convictions as him and/or wasn’t willing to respect his convictions, had he married her he would have found out what Proverbs 25:24 was talking about.

              He may not realize it yet, but he had a narrow escape. Here’s hoping for his sake that his next girlfriend is willing to live by the same set of standards that he’s chosen to live by. If he can find a woman like that, she’ll be a much better match for him than the one who dumped him over refusing to violate his own conscience.

              • … what Proverbs 25:24 was talking about.

                Or even Proverbs 21:9. Huh: the exact same proverb shows up twice. Never realized that until just now.

              • One wonders how many women pursue Tebow for the notoriety of being able to claim being “hot” enough to make him break his vow. Seems to me there are plenty of ambitious models, actresses, etc. who would see that as a way to climb up the celebrity ladder another rung.

                I am minded of the advice reportedly given to NBA rookies about sleeping around: always bring your own condoms and always take them with you when you leave. Apparently there are more than a few women happy to get pregnant (even if they have to do it by draining a used condom) and claim a lien on a player’s future earnings. People need to keep in mind that when you are using a person they might also be using you.

                • One wonders how many women pursue Tebow for the notoriety of being able to claim being “hot” enough to make him break his vow.

                  How many? That one’s actually a pretty easy question: 100% of the ones who are pursuing him. If he’s wise, he’ll make sure he pursues her (whoever “she” ends up being) rather than the other way around. If I were advising him, I’d tell him to go to a traditional church and look for the single women who dress modestly without being frumpy, and make that modest dress look good. Find a woman who cares more that he’s a Godly man than that he’s a celebrity. He’s just as likely to find an attractive woman at church as anywhere else, but she, unlike the others, won’t have an agenda in dating him.

                  • When you Google that phrase I mentioned, one of the options is for “images of Tim Tebow ex-girlfriends” — and just a glance at the sample provided before clicking through indicates a surprising selection of females who are not modestly dressed and who have suspiciously high concentration of their body fat in two places, with very little apparent body fat on the rest of their (highly) visible figures.

                    Which suggests that a merging of mind and spirit are not the first things in their hearts.

                • Apparently you’re not aware of the old saying. Marriage occurs when a woman catches the man who’s been chasing her.

          • Well, sure — how many women these days want a man with integrity, a man who will respect them?

            OTOH – the girlfriend surely knew his stance when she “took the job.” To cite that as a deal-breaker now suggests a) she’s not very bright, able to think through the implications of a position, b) she’s lying to the media in order to get some small measure of revenge on an ex, c) she’s playing to the media bias in order to milk the relationship of some extra publicity, d) the media are making stuff up or misrepresenting people’s statements e) all of the above, in varying degree f) something else. None of this reflects poorly on Tebow.

            • Well yes, that it does not reflect badly on Tebow is obvious. I should have made that clearer.
              However, my money is on f) something else–I don’t think she thought he meant it.

              • Also entirely possible.

              • There is one thing in the whole mess that does reflect poorly on Tebow, just a little. I give him full points for integrity, but less-than-full points for wisdom. He seems to be falling for a pretty face (or body) and thinking that her outer beauty must mean that she has inner beauty to match. But in reality, the two aren’t correlated. Or if there is a correlation, it’s a slight negative correlation — because mean girls who are ugly can’t get away with it, and usually learn not to be so mean by the time they’re adults. (Or at least learn to hide it better.) But mean girls who look beautiful on the outside can, and usually do, get away with it throughout their teenage years, and thus turn into mean women.

                Not all beautiful women are mean and/or lacking in virtue. There are women out there who are beautiful and virtuous… but Tebow appears to be looking in the wrong place to find them. Hence the less-than-full points for wisdom. He’d do much better seeking out a traditional church where the single women dress modestly, as I already said.

                • Catticus Finch

                  “He seems to be falling for a pretty face (or body) and thinking that her outer beauty must mean that she has inner beauty to match.”

                  Agreed. I have great respect for Tebow and his commitment to his morals – I think it’s an awesome example for young people, especially young men considering the cult of “virgin shaming” – but what is he thinking when he chooses his girlfriends? It’s clear that he’s going for what’s attractive over what is morally compatible. Don’t get me wrong, I bet it’s a tremendous temptation when you have hot members of the opposite sex vying to date you (would that young me had had that problem 😉 ), but if a person is going to uphold him or herself to a high moral standard, then they need to make it a priority to date somebody who will help them uphold that standard. The odds of finding that person among the status-symbol elite are slim. Impossible? No, but unlikely.

                • But mean girls who look beautiful on the outside can, and usually do, get away with it throughout their teenage years, and thus turn into mean women.

                  We could call it Cute Dog Syndrome – the cute little yappy dogs get away with behavior that would never be tolerated in a large dog.

            • Well, one possibility for (f) is probably “I thought I was willing to deal with this, and after a while, I wasn’t.” I could imagine that for someone who thinks it’s okay to have sex with her boyfriend, being with one who disagrees might eventually wear on her more than she initially expected.

            • scott2harrison

              Or most likely of all: he is lying when he says “No sex until marriage” (everybody lies about sex), or, he says that now, but I will be able to change his mind (the delusion is strong in this one).

              • Wayne Blackburn

                … or, he says that now, but I will be able to change his mind…

                That’s the one I figure it to be.

            • Or she assumed that either he was lying, or that he did the “we’ve been dating three weeks, that’s committed” thing.

            • “Well, sure — how many women these days (say they) want a man with integrity, a man who will respect them, (and then go after known players)?

              Going to the websites of men into The Game, who classify all males into alphas, betas, gammas, and whatever, and it’s a real eye opener. I strongly suspect that I would intensely dislike any of those website operators if I met in person, because that’s the revulsion I feel towards any men I’ve known who openly brag and are proud of cheating on their wives or girlfriends. The problem is- I know all too many women who know about a sleazeballs behavior beforehand, BUT THEY STILL GO OUT WITH HIM! Because they’re the woman who’s going to change him… thus proving sleazeball behavior works.

            • Or, they were never dating in the first place and she’s being used to smear him, which does seem to be the case. Story I read earlier said they were part of the same group at church and had been seen going out with said group.

      • ” His reply was, “Yeah, but about sex? Everybody lies about sex!””

        “He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.” — Edmund Burke

        • Heh. I knew someone would beat me to that line.

          Generalizations usually seem to tell more about the speaker than the spoken of (yes, I know the irony of that statement).

      • I was in high school during that whole mess. I remember that my thought to the “everybody does it” argument was, “Really? No matter what man I marry, I can be certain he’ll be trolling the office ponds for interns willing to have sex with him? Maybe I ought to give lesbianism a try…”

        Fortunately, I believe that I found at least one of my classmates who didn’t fall in the category of “everybody.”

        • Perhaps there’s a bit of irony in that, too. The ones so quick to proclaim the casual immorality of all men probably either haven’t heard how the most public self-proclamations of virtue are more likely to prove false, while quiet earnestness and principle goes unremarked. By this, the proclaimer finds “proof” in the silence of the ones who could *dis*prove his thesis (and absence of evidence is not… well, you know).

          Which tracks us back to the topic of yesterday’s post: speaking out. *grin*

        • “Everybody is into $THING! You must be into $THING!”
          “‘Everybody’ is X billion people. I am just me. I am not X billion people. And I am not into $THING.”

          Sometime the ox does the stunning, judging by some of the looks I get.

  9. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Of course, even the people who claim teenagers “can’t control themselves” would tell a teenaged boy to “control himself” if his girlfriend didn’t want to have sex. [Very Big Evil Grin]

  10. c4c

  11. Re: “teenagers can’t control themselves”.
    (1) If you do not teach them impulse control in other matters, well yeah…
    (2) It’s something of a false dichotomy between “only handholding” and “shtupping all around”. Yes, the reproductive drive being what it is, teenagers in love will feel an urge to explore things. But there’s a lot more to s3x than “the home run”, and there’s much to be said for becoming slowly, gradually and thoroughly familiar with one another’s bodies and physical responses (in tandem with deepening one’s emotional bond) BEFORE attempting full intercourse. Or, for that matter, for reserving the last step entirely for “the one”.

  12. “In the same vein, everyone knows Europe is more sophisticated than the US. Why, my dear, their politicians routinely have mistresses.”

    Granted I’m in serious overdrive right now, but when I first scanned that paragraph I thought Sarah said “mattresses.” Let’s hope that politicians of whatever continent don’t make a fad of carting them around.

  13. I remember reading a note in a Jasper Fforde novel where the fact that a French politician did not have a mistress and was in fact in love with his wife brought down the entire French government.

    • It seems likely that this attitude is a remnant from the times when marriages were, for the upper class, business mergers. Thus you were not expected to love your spouse, or even find her (male-dominated culture) particularly congenial; that is what a mistress was for.

      This fetish for marital fidelity was probably viewed as rude and absurd. The function of a wife was to provide a legitimate heir and to oversee the property, not satisfaction of the Lord’s carnal desires or even intelligent conversation.

      • For the upper class and *especially* royalty and upper nobility.

        • It depended. The Franks were not big on marital fidelity, because even after they turned Christian the nobles and kings wanted concubines and easy divorces. The Visigoths were much more into monogamy, and therefore Frank/Visigoth marriages didn’t work well. Lombards also believed in fidelity, which was why Charlemagne didn’t get along with his Lombard queen. (Among other reasons.)

          OTOH, there’s a beautiful story about Authari, the king of the Lombards, and his marriage to Theodolind, daughter of the duke of Bavaria. Authari secretly went with the ambassadorial marriage negotiation party so that he could see his potential bride, and was so delighted with her that he turned into the world’s worst actor, and loudly announced his name as soon as the party left town.

          Theodolind turned out to be so good a queen that when Authari died tragically young, the Lombards decided that they’d take her next husband as king, since whoever she picked would have to be good. And she was very happy with her next husband, too, and he with her.

          Nobles were trained to get along and be charming, so a lot of them did manage to be happy with arranged marriages. Just not everyone.

  14. I have a strong suspicion that the principal reason Freud became so popular was that he gave a learned and scientific-sounding excuse for what people wanted to believe anyway.
    Add in the Hollywood moguls, TV executives, publishers, and other money-men who buy what they like and not necessarily what the public wants, and you get airwaves, theaters, and stores full of “not very good but it’s what’s out there without a search”.

  15. Btw, why was I not informed that you folks out West have Basque-American restaurants, some of them operating in old Basque hotels and boardinghouses? And you can eat huge things of garlic on your steak?

    I need to know these things! I want to eat these dishes!!

  16. William O. B'Livion

    Humans have a huge range of “sex drive”, and it’s very possible that many of the people who remain sexually abstinent for long periods of time either just have an incredibly low sex drive, or things get resolved another way.

    I think in a lot of these sorts of issues there is a variant of the “gell-mann” amnesia effect–what we “know” (throughout history priests and nuns have not been abstinent” and “so many men masturbate that we cannot find a control group who doesn’t” et. al.) in specific contexts that we fail for various reasons to apply them in others.

    As an example, my wife attended a catholic high school in the mid-west. One of the teachers–a priest–was found in Memphis in the back seat of a car dressed in either leather or latex with a ball-gag in his mouth and deader than a dead thing.

    Then we when we discuss “celibacy” in a larger context we often fail to acknowledge that it is, in fact, a very *rare* individual who can remain celibate (including masturbation) for any length of time, and one can assume that those individuals have varying levels a combination of sex drive, discipline or other mental issues that look a lot like.

    Think of it as an equation–at 0 you won’t have sex at all, at 1 you will have sex, not only at every opportunity, but will active seek out, create those opportunities, even if it causes you problems or hurts others. Bill Clinton comes to mind here, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Charlie Sheen et .al are examples on the over-doing it side.

    Which is to say that it is a LOT easier for some folks to suppress their desires than it is for others.

    • scott2harrison

      My understanding was that celibacy is abstinance from marriage while hastity is abstinance from intercourse. It is notable that Catholic priests must be celibate, which prevents them from having families that would divide their loyalties, and that the Church has not emphasized the difference which would cause husbands and fathers to look at their priests with a certain amount of suspicion.

      It is notable that the OED states that celibacy is the abstention from both marriage and sexual relations. I don’t know if this is a relatively recent change or not.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well, I never heard that celibacy was *only* abstinence from marriage.

        Chastity is abstinence from sexual relationships while not married.

        Celibacy is abstinence from sexual relationships along with never marrying.

        • Chastity is abstinence from improper sexual relationships — not having relations with anyone not your spouse, while married or not.

          Celibacy is never marrying — so that only total abstinence is chaste.

          • I think the confusion may come from the various couples who were married– back when it was sort of a requirement– but had consecrated their virginity. (Do a search for saints that “lived as brother and sister” for more of this; research suggests it predates Christianity, and that the Virgin Mary was one such person. EWTN had a neat podcast about it last night, something like “Behold thy mother” or “behold your mother,” part of a series about the Holy Mother. Had cool stuff, like that the “Queen” back then wasn’t the king’s wife, it was his MOTHER.)

      • I have always understood celibacy to be abstinence from intercourse. Chastity, on the other hand, consists of having sex only as and when appropriate: unmarried chastity is also celibacy, but a married couple can make like bunnies with each other and be entirely chaste.

      • “Chaste” is required of everyone, and could be roughly rephrased as “not doing the sexual stuff you’re not supposed to do.” (Fantasizing about that hot chick, masturbating, porn, sex outside of marriage, using sex to hurt someone, etc. It’s avoiding sexual impurity.)

        Celibate can be rephrased as “not married” and has the ASSUMPTION of chastity. (Same way that not beating your wife assumes you’re not going to kill her, either.)

    • “so many men masturbate that we cannot find a control group who doesn’t”

      Note, the above mentioned “everybody does it and you’re lying if you say you don’t” effect comes in to play here.

      My four kids– never mind the incredible frustration when I was separated from my husband at various times– show that I have a VERY strong sex drive; yet I was flatly called a liar (and a faggot, and various other insults) when I was a virgin who had no interest in men or women, because I had not been taught that I was SUPPOSED to be. Life is about more than what’s between your legs.

      I wasn’t taught by anyone I’d believe that I HAD to have sex, that I would OF COURSE be obsessed with it, and I wasn’t.

      Yes, some folks will be naturally hyper-sexual– doesn’t mean it’s normal.